It should comes as no surprise to anyone that the Manayunk development known as Venice Island flooded last week, forcing residents to be evacuated and causing property damage.

This was the first time the narrow slice of land in the Schuylkill River floodway was swamped since residents moved in. But it won't be the last.

The island was flooded in 1999, 1996, 1972, and four other times during the last century. Despite that track record, Philadelphia officials allowed the area to be developed.

So the scenes of residents being ferried out of the Venice Lofts apartment complex in a raft will be repeated for as long as people pay monthly rents to enjoy the river views from the island.

Indeed, the Federal Emergency Management Agency told city officials a decade ago that Venice Island flooding "is a certainty" - and that's just what happened after the torrential downpour overnight Thursday into Friday.

That's why it was a poor policy decision to allow developers to put up housing on Venice Island in the first place, one that a city judge tried to halt in citing "too great a risk to human life and property."

Other court decisions tilted in favor of building, however. So a city eager to stem population losses and spur new construction during the administration of former Mayor John F. Street gave the go-ahead for island living.

Fortunately, none of the 75 or so people evacuated from the Dranoff Properties Inc. development was injured - this time.

That's a tribute mostly to Fire Department rescue crews, but also to emergency coordination efforts by apartment managers. As for the buildings, they withstood the rushing water as they were designed to do, according to developer Carl Dranoff.

A flood-prone development, though, doesn't make any more sense today than it did a decade ago, despite the successful rescue at Venice Lofts. There may be few building sites as prone to flooding as Venice Island, but its flooding should be a red flag for planning decisions regarding future riverfront development.

Certainly, plans for an unspoiled buffer along the central Delaware waterfront make even more sense in light of flooding risks raised by climate change.

As for residential developments along the Schuylkill or Delaware, they must be planned with public safety as the uppermost concern.

That's preferable to launching the lifeboats every time it storms.